Scala is the Latin word for ladder.
The two sides of a ladder symbolize the need for balance between body and soul.
The steps of the ladder represent that we ascend to excellence while also descending in humility.
A ladder also symbolizes that being well-rooted in community life holds us steady as we climb to contemplate eternal truths.Reveal more
Scala is a movement of students and educators who are committed to the transformative, holistic tradition of classical liberal arts education.Who We Are
One challenge in education today is that young people are suffering from a crisis of attention and a lack of imagination. Not educating the inner core of our soul from which all other capacities emanate—including our reason—has led to dissonance, dispersion, and the fragmentation caused by a lack of direction for our drives, passions and instincts. Communities of learning flourish when people pursue great achievements while also pruning their minds with humility.
In music, a ladder represents harmony. Like a great piece of music, a good education should create resonance in our souls. The ladder is also a Biblical image for humility.
In Chapter 7 of the Rule of St. Benedict, written in the 6th century, instructs readers that, “if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life, we must by our ascending actions erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream, on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending. By that descent and ascent we must surely understand nothing else than this, that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility. And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world, which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled. For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder, and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.”
Scala’s seminars, reading groups, conferences, summer programs and online resources help students and educators:
Examine why the tradition of classical liberal arts education is so important to personal freedom and flourishing societies
Form communities of exemplary students and educators who embody educational practices that further human freedom in all fields of knowledge
Unite people through friendships based on the open sharing of ideas and the love of truth
From the Executive Director
I started Scala because I believe renewing a classical liberal arts model of education can guide students and teachers in their ongoing personal development through learning and further the common good in a free society.
Scala participants come from a wide variety of schools and backgrounds. Learn more about how our alumni are making a real-world difference and transforming education.
“Scala is the community I had hoped to find in graduate school. The seminars and trips foster the pursuit of truth and rich community that, unfortunately, often does not happen organically and is not championed enough outside the classroom. The opportunity to interact with the diverse mix of folks drawn to Scala allows me not only to connect with others in my discipline, but to benefit from interdisciplinary conversations that are crucial to the formation of a well-rounded academic.”
— Peter B., Princeton Theological Seminary
“I feel empowered as an individual, having met a group of graduate students endeavoring to live a flourishing academic and personal life who understand that the two cannot be divorced. Meeting them, and knowing that the conversations have only just begun, has shifted my perspective considerably.”
— Renae W., Baylor University
Love of Learning
View an episode from our Love of Learning webinar series: a scholarly discussion between Professor Margarita Mooney and Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University.